Jason Graham’s “War Story”: A tale of two mentors.

Jason Graham’s “War Story”: A tale of two mentors.

Commercial litigator and member, founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of the SynerG Law Complex, Jason W. Graham shared this “SynerG War Story” about two of his mentors who passed within a few days of each other – seven years apart – and shares some of their war stories that shaped his practice, professional development, and life in general:

I, like many other lawyers, am blessed to have to credit David Flint to a significant degree with “how I turned out” as a lawyer. He was absolutely brilliant and could talk to anyone from the homeless guy on the street to the Governor or a Supreme Court Justice. He was an “old school” lawyer who would not put up with a lack of professionalism or courtesy despite being a zealous advocate and seasoned litigator. I still tell “David Flint stories” to my own associates as “teaching moments” to this day.  His loss is a loss to our entire profession. You can see his obituary here.

I remember just a few months into practicing law being called by opposing counsel and being asked for a two week extension to respond to interrogatories, document requests, and requests for admissions that I had worked hard on and sent out 29 days before. Two weeks seemed like a lot back then. I said I wasn’t so sure and would have to talk to my boss. When I asked David if I should grant this huge favor to the enemy counsel of gifting him a two week extension to respond to written discovery, he at first looked aghast, and then he smiled and looked at me and said something to the effect of the following:

“Graham, don’t ever ask me a stupid question like that again. You’re a lawyer not a minion. You don’t have to come running to me on these kinds of issues. But more importantly, If someone asks you if they can have an extension, you just say yes, how much time do you need? And then you say okay unless it is more than a month unless they have a good reason.  You don’t have to ask me – or the client – it is a matter of professional courtesy. And you will be in the same boat asking for extensions many times, trust me.  But never trade days. Never condition your extension on anything. Don’t say I’ll give you two weeks if you do X. And if someone does that to you, just say no thank you and stay up all night and get it done. We don’t allow the taking of hostages in matters of professional courtesy.”

I’ve probably re-told the above story to a dozen mentees over the years (always giving credit to David of course).  He was an example of how to be a zealous advocate professionally. He passed seven years and just a few days after another great mentor of mine, Dean Booth. Dean’s telling me of “war stories” is what inspired this blog.  Like his good friend David, he taught through war stories. So I thought I would post the remembrance of a few of those teaching moments from Dean (that I know he shared with David) that was published in the Fulton County Daily Report seven years ago today CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE. (btw, here is the original)

I have been blessed to have amazing mentors. I actually presented a CLE at the State Bar on the art of mentorship in 2019 and a lot of my material was drawn from what I learned from Dean and David. It was great to relive some of those war stories with some younger lawyers who hadn’t heard them yet!

Jason W. Graham, Jason has a boutique complex commercial litigation practice at Graham Legal, LLC, jason@graham.legal

www.graham.legal, SynerG Member since August of 2016, https://synerglawcomplex.com/team-members/jason-graham/

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